Barre classes aren’t exactly universally acknowledged as the short-cut way to burn more calories. Running, boxing, rowing, spin – these are the things more commonly associated with burning fat. However, don’t be fooled by the soft-sounding Pilates-meets-ballet hybrid; barre workouts burn, and have the potential to lift, chisel, and trim-down your entire body.
For some insight into how to properly reach your body’s fat-burning potential and raise the – ahem – barre during your next class, we spoke with Xtend Barre founder, Andrea Rogers. She created one of the world’s most successful fitness trends (you can take this class in five continents!), so there’s really no one better qualified for the task. Here’s what she shared.
Zero in on technique.
When it comes to sculpting the right muscles and burning more calories, technique is everything. A simple shift in your body position, for example, will determine whether you lift and tone your butt, or mistakenly build up the muscles in the front of your legs. “Make sure you are always using proper placement and engage from the correct muscles,” suggested Rogers. Be sure to watch your teacher’s demonstration, and don’t be afraid to ask for one-on-one assistance if you need help with a movement.
Getting your heart-rate up is perhaps the most common-sense way to burn more calories, and mixing in small and large movements to your barre method can really make the workout more effective. “Cardio is not only running and jumping, it is movements that elevate your heart rate,” Rogers said. “In a barre class movements need to be small and large to achieve this; if you only do small sculpting movement, you will sculpt but you probably won’t burn any more calories.”
Eat before class.
Perhaps the easiest of Roger’s tips to get behind is this: Snack before you exercise to make sure you’re on your A-game throughout the class. “You will want to work to your highest potential in each movement to burn the maximum amount of calories and this includes fueling you body,” she suggested, adding: “You don’t want to feel sluggish, you want to feel powerful.” Amen to that!
Pick-up heavier weights.
“Working with any resistance is a sure-fire way to amp up the calorie burn – when you are in a barre class this is no exception,” the barre guru promised. Next time your class instructor asks you to choose a pair of dumbbells, pick up a few pounds heavier and, as Rogers puts it, “watch the calories melt away.”
Follow a combination workout.
Studies show that short periods of interval training are much more effective than longer, lower intensity workouts when it comes to torching calories. It’s why Rogers is a fan of any barre class that involves alternating between two activities. Xtend Barre, for example, is a systematic interval workout and combines different types of movements to elongate and tone the body while also increasing your heart rate. “Being able to work your body in all different positions and effectively exercise each muscle group in combination with another gives the most potential for a high calorie burn during the class,” Rogers explained.
To learn more about Xtend Barre, or to try a class (we love the Brooklyn Heights studio in New York), step this way.